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Bazil Riley

Bazil Riley

South Carolina, United States

Bazil Riley is an award winning poet, writer, lyricist and consummate storyteller that has a diverse vocational background and sound graduate school education; he develops plausible narratives and relatable characters.

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About the author

Bazil Riley is an award winning poet, writer, lyricist, and consummate storyteller.  His most recent awards were in the field of poetry; winning the "Peter Pan Prize" for the best children's poem from the South Carolina Poetry Society, and the "Best Love Poem" awarded by the California State Poetry Society.  Bazil has been highlighted in the Sandlapper Magazine, Forbes, USA Today, News and Observer, Golden Life, and was recently declared an ambassador in the Celebrity Reads Program, by the South Carolina Library Association. Bazil published his first poem when he was eight years old in the local news paper in Oceanside, California.  Since then he has been publishing poems, short stories and even writing award winning songs.  He has self-published two novels (Eye For An Eye, and Abel) and one book of poetry (Simply Now: The Essence of The Moment) all of which sold over seven thousand copies each and are still selling.

With a doctoral degree in sociology and an emphasis on both aging and adult education, Bazil has written dozens of nonfiction articles for various academic publications.  He was an adjunct professor of sociology at Francis Marion University where he taught courses in criminology, marriage and family, sociology and religion.  He was voted most popular lecturer in a university wide survey of both students and faculty.

Bazil served honorably as an officer in the United States Army where he received specialized combat training which resulted in him being deployed to several hot-spots through out the world. He’s worked as a private pilot, newspaper reporter and columnist, hospital chaplain, and metal sculptor.  His varied background contributes to his ability to develop believable characters and ensuing dialogue that makes for real “Can’t put the book down” reading.

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The Color of Love

A Novel

Regardless of the bigotry, racism, hate and snobbery imposed by the local church and town’s people when the seventeen year old biracial couple start dating- in the end Love prevails.

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YA Fiction
75,000 words
75% complete
6 publishers interested

Synopsis

Primary Characters:

Love: in all of its manifestations is the primary character of this story.

Virginia Pawley: seventeen and feeling things that she has never felt before.

Robert Corley: seventeen year old black teenager with a very promising academic future.

Charles Pawley: Virginia's father who is an insurance broker and a staunch conservative deacon at Rock Creek Holiness Church.

Nora Pawley: Virginia's loving mother who follows lock-step with her husband's convictions.

Sam Corley: Robert's loving father who will do anything to see that Robert  succeeds in life.

Tobias Dolan: a mixed race baby boy that was signed over to the state the minute he was born.  He's not adopted until he's twelve years old, therefore, he's one of the main characters of this story.

The Color of Love is a fictional story about a seventeen year old girl named Virginia Pawley who, on a sweltering hot summer day, ignores her father's directive and goes to the creek to swim with her girlfriends from public high school.  Virginia has long blonde hair, she’s pretty, smart and plays on her high school soccer team, but she still feels as if she lives a sequestered life because she was forced by her parents to attend the all-white Rock Creek Christian Academy, which was founded in retaliation to the mandatory Civil Rights Act signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.  Her father, who runs a small insurance business in town, is best known as being a very outspoken deacon at Rock Creek Holiness Church.  Which was also an all-white institution.  Her father, Charles Pawley, was adamant about keeping his precious daughter separated from any race of people in the community that were not white- especially blacks.  

It was on this particularly hot and humid day that Virginia met Robert Corley and fell madly in love with him the very first moment she laid eyes on him.  Several of the girls were standing in a group talking and laughing about various and sundry things.  Three of the girls were smoking cigarettes. Virginia could hear her father's voice in the back of her mind saying that these girls are no good; they don't have a moral compass.  But as soon as she saw Robert standing on a granite boulder getting ready to dive into the cool creek water her father's words were immediately squelched by a power stronger than hate.  It was love at first sight.  Before he dove into the water he looked past the gaggle of girls and looked deeply into her eyes.  They spoke a thousand words without uttering a single sound.  When he emerged from the water he swam directly toward her, climbed out of the creek and walked to her.  They do not remember who spoke first, but once they began they could not stop.  They were smitten with each other. 

With the world being  judgmental and unnecessarily harsh, Virginia and Robert realized that they would have to keep their relationship as quiet as possible.  They would have to devise a plan to see each other when and where they could.  This was particularly difficult for Virginia to do because she wanted to shout from the roof tops about her love for Robert.  

Charles Pawley was fond of telling those around him, "That the truth will set you free."  He was certain that he had read it in the Bible, but never could seem to remember the chapter and verse.  Virginia wanted so much to share this new truth with him, but she was aware that he was not prepared to hear it.  Her father, the mighty deacon, was really nothing more than a died in the wool bigot and racist who was even known for telling off-color racial jokes at church and then giving a huge belly laugh.  This made Virginia resent her father long before she ever met Robert.  And now with Robert in her life she knew her father would never condone the relationship much less see it as being the truth.  

Four months into their relationship Virginia finds out that she's pregnant.  On one hand it is something that she wants to celebrate with joy and adulation but the reality of the situation required that she not tell a single soul- not even Robert.  She was desperate, and as the old saying goes desperate people do desperate things.  Virginia was no exception. The decision that she made proved to be evidence of her desperate position.  With one short breath she told a grand lie that would change the lives of many people forever...

Outline

Chapter One: A Day at The Creek.

Chapter Two: Love at First Sight.

Chapter Three: Pregnant and Afraid.

Chapter Four: Virginia Cries Rape.

Chapter Five: Robert Corley Arrested for Rape.

Chapter Six: Pleads No Contest.

Chapter Seven: Fish Out of Water.

Chapter Eight: A Baby is Born.

Chapter Nine: Child Number 6078 Becomes Tobias Dolan.

Chapter Ten: Virginia Contemplates Suicide.

Chapter Eleven: Mutt Baby.

Chapter Twelve: Tobias Finds Out He's a Rape Baby.

Chapter Thirteen: Cornerstone of Hate.

Chapter Fifteen: Either Too Black or Too White.

Chapter Sixteen: A Voice From Heaven and The Hands of a Lady.

Chapter Seventeen: Tobias Dolan Becomes Tobias Kelley.

Chapter Eighteen: Tobias Learns The Language of Love.

Chapter Nineteen: Stage Four Breast Cancer.

Chapter Twenty: Sarah Kelley Draws on Her Faith For Strength.

Chapter Twenty-One: Alone Again.

Chapter Twenty-Two: Tobias Finds His Own Faith to be Lacking.

Chapter Twenty-Three: Robert Corley Contacts Tobias.

Chapter Twenty-Four: A Cornerstone of Love.

Chapter Twenty-Five: Love Prevails.

Audience

The Color of Love is a novel that is intended for the Young Adult (YA) audience.  The YA fiction genre is a category aimed primarily at those aged 12 to 18 years of age.  However, many YA books are being purchased and read by young adults that age into their mid to late twenties (Valerie Peterson, 2018). According to the Young Adult Library Association, in most cases the protagonist of YA novels falls within the same age range as the reader, and the story, therefore, is told through teenage eyes. 

The Color of Love is no exception to this.  The first few chapters are told primarily through the eyes of seventeen year old Virginia Pawley.  Whereas the remaining chapters are told through the eyes of the young boy, and eventual teenager Tobias Dolan.

The Color of Love deals with several hot button issues that are very relevant to the YA reading audience, which I might add, is more sophisticated than some may think.  Some of the issues are: inter-racial dating, racism, bigotry, anger, hate, discussions of abortion, suicide, adoption, repercussions of a lie, and the power of love, and the true meaning of learning to love yourself and others alike.

According to a 2017 article in the Huffington Post, YA print book sales and e-book sales have climbed steadily since 2002, and there's no indication that the sales will not continue to climb regardless of what the market may otherwise be doing.  With this in mind, it's a good time to be entering the YA market with a new title.

Promotion

In the digital age most authors should have a strong web presence.  In order to accomplish this you no longer have to be adept at HTML or writing code to build your own website or, worse yet, pay a hefty toll to those that do know how.  My own website www.BazilRiley.com gets an average of 720 new visitors each month.  With Google Analytics I can track each visitor and see how deep into the sight they are going, which pages they visit and so on.  Most importantly, I have two points on the first page where the visitor can register or contact me.  The end goal being that I capture their email address for future marketing purposes. 

I learned a long time ago that the recipe for success was to be really good at one or two things instead of mediocre at a lot of things.  With writing, I hold to the old rule that the cream rises to the top.  If you are a good storyteller and a good writer then you will eventually be recognized.  You just have to keep at it. For me, composing and writing stories is one of my strong points.  I wasn't born with this talent, I read every book I could get my hands on and I studied the craft of writing.  Another thing that I happen to be good at is speaking to groups of people; whether it be four people or four thousand.  Going through Officer Basic Course in the army I found that not only was I good in front of groups of people but I was a good extemporaneous speaker as well.  This is one reason why lecturing at college classes came so easy for me.  This is also how I sold the majority of my self-published books was by speaking to various groups of people.  Now I get calls from all sorts of groups, corporations, annual chamber meetings, etc. to speak.  Sure I have a Twitter page, Facebook page, Pinterest, and YouTube channel, but my gifts and talents are best spent on writing and speaking.  So, I have just began negotiations with a social media book promoter that has 500K legitimate followers.  She actually contacted me after having actually read both of my novels and through my mother who has 6,500 Facebook friends.  I've done the due diligence to determine whether she will be an asset or not, and I am quite confident that she will.

I do realize that at the end of the day that although I thoroughly enjoy what I do, that this is in fact a business and that once the story is written, edited, and published then it's time to roll up my sleeves and get to work selling books.  Oddly enough, I enjoy this part of the equation just as much, if not more, than writing the story.  I'm a people person and enjoy talking about what I do.  Most self-published authors fail at this because either they are too much of an introvert or deep down they realize their product is not up to par.

Competition

Books that I read that were either a direct competition or were like minded  in their storyline and character development.

1. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, 2016 HarperCollins, Y A Fiction- 464 pages. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas' searing debut novel about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart and unflinching honesty.  Touches on some of the same issues that Tobias deals with as he continuously feels neglected because of what he perceived to be racially motivated reasons.

2. The Day Tajon Got Shot, By Teen Writers of Beacon House, May 2017 Shout Mouse, 230 pages. Tajon Williams, a black teen, sells weed as a means of getting his mother and sister away from his abusive alcoholic father. He is threatened at gunpoint by the neighborhood drug dealers to handing over his supply of weed without receiving any money for it.  Their transaction is interrupted by a white police officer, Tajon is shot twice while running from the police.  The shooting is witnessed by Razia, a longtime friend of Tajon.  She knows that Tajon did not have a gun, contrary to the Police officer's claims. Readers will appreciate the usage of multimedia such as newspaper headlines, social media, and protest signs and posters.  The book gives off an element of anticipation, which will cause readers to wonder the outcome of Tajon's comatose condition.

3.Ask Me How I Got Here, by Christine Heppermann, published May 2016, HarperCollins. How do you define yourself? By your friends, family, boyfriend, grades, trophies, choices you've made? These are the myriad of issues that Happermann brings to the mind of the character in her latest novel.  These are some the very same questions that Tobias wrestles with as he ponders his own identity.  Is he white? Is he black? Or is he a mistake, a product of a heinous crime? 

4. Monster, by Walter Dean Myers, published originally 2016 by HarperCollins.  Won the National Book Award in 2000 and was named the Coretta Scott King Award Honor the same year.  The story is about a sixteen year old black teenager named Steve Harmon, an amateur filmmaker, who is on trial for the murder of a Harlem drugstore owner and could face the death penalty if found to be guilty.  The entire time he fights for his innocence he is incarcerated in the juvenile detention center.  There  is a strong parallel between what this young man faces and what Robert Corley went through as he was arrested and held for the vicious rape of Virginia Pawley, the love of his life.  Where the two storylines differ is that Robert chose to plead no contest to the crime of rape because he knew a long drawn out jury trial would only be a further embarrassment to Virginia and to his loving father.  He had no idea why she cried rape, but he loved her enough to trust her- even if it meant going to prison.

5. See No Color, by Shanon Gibney. published 2015, by Google Books.  Debut novelist Gibney offers an unflinching look at the complexities of racial identity in the story of a black teenager trying to understand her place in the white family that adopted her.  Very similar to the storyline of Tobias as he struggles to figure both who he is and what he is as he is initially passed over for adoption for being too black or too white.  And, yet, he is eventually adopted by the most loving lady that he has ever met- Ms. Sarah Kelley, who just happens to be white.  He would lay in bed at night and try and reconcile the issues of his mixed race with the harsh bigotry of the world and the reality of the truly color blind love of his mom- Sarah Kelley.

6 publishers interested Express interest
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It
was an unusually hot summer day.  Several of the
neighborhood teenagers gathered at the creek below the train trestle at the
edge of town.  This is where everyone
that was cool hung out to swim and talk, and sometimes smoke.  Virginia
wanted to be cool.  She wanted to be a
part of the in-crowd.  She was pretty.  She was smart, and she played soccer on her
high school team, but that was all.  She
wanted to do more.  She wanted to be more
like her friends that attended the public high school.  The problem was her mother and father,
Charles and Nora Pawley.  They were
strict– very strict.  Her dad was the
senior deacon at Rock Creek Holiness Church. 
Therefore, it was unlikely that he would allow his only daughter to be very
liberal in her activities. Her father said that those girls that went to public
high school didn’t have a moral compass and, therefore, would never amount to
anything he would exclaim.  She was forbidden from
going to the creek, she was forbidden from a lot of things, but this particular
day her father was out of town at a conference learning how to peddle more
insurance, so she went against his directive and went to the creek.

She
was seventeen years old and having feelings that she never felt before.  She wanted to live, she wanted to taste life,
she wanted to laugh out loud, have fun with her friends and maybe talk to some
boys.  She wanted to go swimming with her
girlfriends.  So she did.

Virginia went to the Christian Academy.  It was a religious school.  By design, it was an all white school.  It was a safe school. It was chartered in retaliation to the Civil Rights Amendment signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.  There was no way that Charles Pawley was going to allow any Washington bureaucrats to tell him who his precious daughter had to go to school with.  The private Christian school was just the answer.  Those that weren't discouraged because of the high cost of annual tuition, then the Board of Directors could find other reasons to exclude.  Most of Virginia's girl friends went to the public
high school.  This was an ongoing battle between her and her parents.

            She had heard the expression before about “Love
at First Sight”, but never thought that it was actually real.  The moment she laid eyes on him she knew it
was more than just a saying– it was, in fact, love at first sight.  As soon as the troop of girls arrived at the
sandy bank of the creek she saw a group of high school boys swimming and diving
from the large granite rocks below the trestle. 
That’s where she first saw him.

            He was tall and lean.  He had wide shoulders and a rippled
stomach.  He was beautiful. She thought
he looked like an elegant statue.  She
could not take her eyes off of him.  Virginia did not hear a
word her friends were saying as she was focused on his every move.

            All the kids at the creek that day
were white except for him.  He was
black.  Actually, she thought, he was not
black at all.  He was burnished
brown.  He was not much darker than the
tanned fore arms of her granddad,- who still farmed for a living.  He was
the color that every girl had hoped the sun would allow them to be.  She could not take her eyes off of him.  He was a graceful diver and an elegant
swimmer.  She was mesmerized by his every
move; his every twitch.

            He dove from the tallest rock into
the cool dark water.  He stayed under water for at least thirty seconds.  When he came up his
eyes were fixed solely on hers.  He
looked past all the other boys, her friends, and looked directly—deeply—into
her eyes.  The water beaded up and ran
down his body as he climbed out of the creek. 
She had to talk to him.  She did
talk to him.

            Up until that point in her life
nothing ever seemed to make sense.  But
the moment she saw him everything in the universe made perfect sense.  She was created to love him– Robert Corley.

            The moment of bliss was quickly
shattered when she heard her father’s voice in her head asking her why she was
at the creek and telling her that Robert was black.  The thought of her dad crushed the
moment.  But she did not care.  She had to follow through.  She did follow through. 

            He felt as strong about her as she
did of him.  He told her that when he
first saw her his blood stopped coursing through his veins.  He was chilled with the most powerful emotion
that he had ever felt – love. 

            They were not sure who spoke first,
but once they did they never stopped. 
They could not get enough of each other. 
They were consumed by love.  They
were consumed by lust.  He had known
several girls, but never had he known anything like Virginia. 
Her skin was as pure as the fresh fallen snow.  She was flawless.  She was beautiful.  She would be his forever.  He loved her. 
He wanted her.

            Over the next few months they
worked out a routine where they could see each other without the rest of the
world getting in the way.  The world was
ugly.  The world was judgmental and
bigoted.  The world would not
understand.  So they avoided the rest of
the world and met when and where they could.

            She went against every rule her
father had laid out and he went against everything his dad had told him not to
do.  His father had warned him about
messing with white girls and her father had told her that those people just
were not like us and to leave them alone because nothing good can come from it.

            Doing the calculations, Virginia came to realize
that the first encounter was the one that did it.  She got pregnant.  Three weeks past her period she began to
worry.  She was never late – twenty eight
days on the money every month.  She went
to the Super Wal-Mart and purchased a test kit. 
It was blue.  She was
pregnant. 

            On one hand, she was elated.  She had this wonderful feeling.  She wanted to shout at the top of her lungs that she and Robert were going to have a baby.  Yet on the other hand she knew that she was
doomed.   She had to do something.  An abortion was out of the question: it
required parental consent.   She did not
tell Robert.  She did not tell
anyone.  She panicked.  She was desperate.  And as its been said before, desperate people do desperate things, Virginia certainly was no exception from the rule.  On a whim, without giving it much thought, Virginia pulled a couple of tufts of her own hair out, scratched her face and arms, tore her blouse open, rolled in the gravel drive way getting grass and debris in her hair.  She then walks in the front door of her house and calls out for her daddy.  Screaming and crying that she had been raped by a black boy named Robert Corely.  

The moment she uttered that god awful lie; things in her home town and several lives were forever changed.  Like the saying goes, you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube once its been squeezed out.  She immediately felt remorse and regret, but she also knew that there was no room for the truth- it would be more devastating tan the lie she conjured up.




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